North Wales Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray was pleased with aspects of his side’s 24-16 victory over Coventry Bears in their final pre-season outing.
After racing into an early lead and asking plenty of questions of Coventry early on, Crusaders were continually pegged by the visitors for the remainder of the match.
However, tries from Rob Massam and Lloyd Roby in the final ten minutes secured the win.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Murray admitted.
“Full credit to Coventry as they came here under-strength and got stuck into us, making a fist of it. We also had eight players out.
“We seem to have a problem keeping hold of the ball and making sure our completion rates are high.
“We aren’t getting in that arm wrestle or making sure the opposition have to work hard for anything we give them.
“In four sets, we turned the ball over on the last tackle on their try line and then in four out of the five next sets we gave away a penalty early in the tackle count.
“It puts them back on our try line.
“Some of the tries we scored were nice but, again, we only completed two out of eight sets early in the second-half.
“In the final 20 minutes, we completed nine sets from 13 and scored two tries.
“It just goes to show that, if you complete your sets, you get into good areas of the field and score some decent tries.
“We showed things in spells, but we were a bit up and down.
“We won and that’s the main outcome we wanted.
“We’ve just got to make sure we respect possession more.”
Crusaders open their League 1 account at Workington Town on February 24, before hosting Oldham on March 3.
#CHALLENGE800 has been launched ahead of the clash with Oldham, aiming to get at least 800 fans down at Queensway Stadium to cheer on the lads.
Photography by Richard Long